If you remember on the 12th, it was not only my birthday, but our 17th wedding anniversary. We travel somewhere every year for our anniversary even if it is just for the weekend. The other part of that tradition is we collect an ornament from our travels and a few years ago had enough that we now have an anniversary tree just for these ornaments. Now before you get too impressed or too disgusted with the “sweetness” we were just discussing these ornaments and struggled to remember what last year’s was! We generally have to take them out and read the list I’ve made to remember when and where we’ve been. Of course, this year, those are still packed away in the attic!
In any case, this year’s ornament was found today - a piece of pounamu or more commonly known as jade or greenstone) Pounamu may be found at various sites along the West Coast of the South Island and Hokitika is a large source for the jade. It has a treasured spiritual significance to the Maori. Having a piece of pounamu is very popular – so popular that jade is now being imported. We made sure that we had the genuine article and purchased a piece of flower jade.
How did we obtain this treasure? We spent the day in Hokitika at Bonz ‘N’ Stonz carving this year’s ornament! I thought I’d put a more “normal” blog entry on this time – you know the one where I show more about about the creative process. So here’s goes….
Step 1. Pick out a design. The ornament generally represents our favorite part of our trip. I don’t know that we could pick just one, so we ended up choosing the national symbol of New Zealand, the silver fern. I’ll confess right now we even used the Qualmark logo. Qualmark is a rating system for tourist attractions and endorses certain activities to help a newbie navigate all the offerings. It’s just beautiful.
Step 2. Create a template. Here we transferred the design to a sheet of paper and cut it out.
Step 4. Continue with grinder to contour the jade so the piece looks more natural and not so flat – i.e. curves and waves in the plane. From there, grind with the wheel and/or the dremel tool to get the edges smoother.
Step 9. Photograph the piece!